06 August 2005

Besta 98 - Could Be Better

I've been playing a bit with my new Besta 98 Chinese electronic dictionary and have realized it's missing features that I can definitely used. The main reason for me to get the gadget was to be able to input the titles for all the Chinese songs that GraceNote doesn't have. A big portion of the songs on my iPod are Chinese and not all of them have titles. They are generically named Track 1, Track 2, and so on. The Chinese characters are right there on the CD inserts but it has taken me forever to look them up in the paper dictionary. So far I had better luck with looking up the words, via Cantonese phonetic, on my Visor Deluxe PDA outfitted with cjkOS. One nice feature cjkOS has is that as you locate the Chinese characters you can also have the phonetic equivalents listed right behind them, in brackets. Since I only know how to input Chinese on the iMac via pinyin, I had cjkOS lists the pinyin phonetic for me. Deep down I secretly hoped that an electronic Chinese dictionary would do just that for me, but alas, not the Besta 98. It's made in Taiwan so for each character in its database, it only lists the Wade Giles phonetic and the Taiwan spelling system. Not quite exactly what I wish to see.

I used to wonder what's the difference between Besta and its competition Gold Dictionary. Now I suspect that Gold is made in China and supports the pinyin system. Too late for me now, I already plunk down $299 for the Besta 98, better make the most of it.

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